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Ask questions or just talk about different languages. Since BrainKing is an international game site supporting many languages, this board can be kind of useful.

Since we will be dealing with pronunciation of words rather than their spelling, I think it's useful to have a link to The sounds of English and the International Phonetic Alphabet.

To see translations of some frequently used phrases and sentences in other languages see Languages

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6. April 2006, 10:29:08
Ahh, my favorite board it is. My first question:

1)What exactly is the difference between 'have to' and 'must'?

When do we say we have to do something, and when we must do something?

6. April 2006, 10:30:50
Emne: Re:
رضا: Good question. In Czech, we have the only verb for this - "muset".

6. April 2006, 10:32:45
Emne: Re:
Fencer: In Farsi we too have only one verb for it. But these English people are quite perfect at making verbs for themselves. I've always wondered about the difference between have to and must.

6. April 2006, 10:41:34
Walter Montego 
Emne: Re:
رضا: As far as I use the words, they're interchangable in your example. Have to and must do not mean the same thing though. Have is a tricky word and has lots of meanings. Must is fairly straight forward. You left out "got" by the way.

When do we got to do something?

This isn't normally an acceptable usage as far as grammartarians will say, but like the word "ain't" it is often said.

Is grammartarians a word? :)

6. April 2006, 10:47:52
Emne: Re:
Walter Montego: I remember when I was studying at the English institute I'm teaching at right now, we would have very confusing questions with have to and must. They'd give us sentences such as:

All of us ..... obey the traffic regulations.
I ...... buy a loaf of bread on my way back home.


I really didn't know in which I had to use have to an din which one must.

The examples I gav eyou are just things that came to my mind. So basically the answer to both of them may be the same.

6. April 2006, 10:52:29
Emne: Re:
Marfitalu: That was a nice link. That 'Many authorities consider that must indicates an internal decision of the speaker, while have to indicates the presumption of an outward authority' seems to be quite distinctive. How about Ought to?

I think that's another verb used to show obligation. And should?

I think the use of these four verbs must, have to, should, ought to and the one Walter mentioned, got to will be most obvious in examples. So do you have any in mind?

6. April 2006, 10:56:54
Emne: Re:
Marfitalu: But your choices are in contradiction with what that link says. According to the link, in the first one you must (?) use have to since it's an as the link puts it, outward authority, an din the second one, you must (?) use must since afterall it's an option.

6. April 2006, 10:57:48
Walter Montego 
Emne: Re:
Marfitalu: He says it well this Mister Micawber:

"Many authorities consider that must indicates an internal decision of the speaker, while have to indicates the presumption of an outward authority, but in practice these often overlap so extensively that either will serve."

He says they're often interchangable, but do have different uses.

In your first sentence I might use either one.
In the second I would normally say the I have to buy the bread, since it really doesn't have to happen usually. Again though, you could say must buy a loaf. Both make sense.

I'm trying hard to think up an example where one of them would be definitively wrong. Maybe someone else can. I speak my own version of American English and am not school taught in the fine points of a lot of grammar.

6. April 2006, 10:57:55
Emne: Re:
رضا: I wonder how many native English speakers really know this difference and use it.

6. April 2006, 11:04:35
Emne: Re:
Walter Montego: Yes. The link works well. The fact that non-native speakers of a languag eknow the grammar of that language more than its native speakers do, is quite interesting. Though the language intuition is always something else.

6. April 2006, 11:09:10
Emne: Re:
Fencer: My assumption is that many don't know the difference, but use the options properly.

6. April 2006, 11:14:17
Emne: Re:
Walter Montego: You said: As far as I use the words, they're interchangable in your example. Have to and must do not mean the same thing though. Have is a tricky word and has lots of meanings. Must is fairly straight forward. You left out "got" by the way.

So now that I looked back at my post, I started to wonder if I had put my question properly. By the word something in my examples, I simply meant that you as the ones who want to answer my question are free to put the proper actions in the place of 'something' that I used. But seems you as a native speaker didn't get what I meant. So my question must have been wrong.

Quite interesting that Farsi doesn't always correspond with English!

6. April 2006, 11:19:35
Walter Montego 
Emne: Re:
رضا: "something" is a word with lots of meanings too. If you wanted to use it to mean a type of fill-in-the-blank instead as some unspecified action for someone to do, you should have explained it in a different way.

6. April 2006, 11:22:50
Emne: Re:
Walter Montego: So this would work?

When do we say : I must buy a loaf of bread on my way back home.

And when : I have to buy a loaf of bread on my way back home.

6. April 2006, 11:38:50
Walter Montego 
Emne: Re:
رضا: I like how Marfitalu has it. If it ain't a problem but something that needs doing eventually, I'd go with "have to" or "should" or even "ought to". If it's urgent and can't wait or be denied, I'd be more inclined to say "must".

So we get back to the traffic light and external authority. We must obey the traffic signals, but some people don't think that way and would say, "We should obey the traffic signals". To me the word "must" is often times an absolute and I avoid speaking in absolute unless it really is an absolute. It should be obvious that we should obey traffic signals, we don't have to obey them. There's no must to it. A law of physics is different. It is an absolute in almost all cases. You jump off the ground, you must come back down. It has nothing to do with having to do it or should do it. It will happen and it must happen. Must implies little or no choice in the matter and the other ones leave room for different actions.

6. April 2006, 11:45:17
Suppose your wife, I know you don't have one yet! but just imagine you do, asks you politely to buy a loaf of bread on your way back home and you know that if you don't, she won't get mad or sad at all.

Now suppose that sh easks you to buy a loaf of bread and if you don't, she'll get mad at you.

Now suppose if you don't, she'll kill you.

Will there be any difference in saying the sentence I ... buy a loaf of bread on my way back home ?

I bet there will be.

6. April 2006, 11:58:57
Walter Montego 
Emne: Re:
رضا: As I said, I'd use the words as Marfitalu has. If she is going to be upset, then "must" it is.

There's one thing about this whole deal, when it comes to which word to use. Most people around here could care less as to which is used. These meaning for these uses are somewhat subtle in their differences. I doubt if anyone would even notice in a conversation which one you had used unless you added special emphasis to it while you were talking. Other words can get people worked up. And then there's obscure ones like the word "whom". You got me who uses it, but there really is a proper way as to when to use it. I think the word "whom" will eventually disappear from American English.

One I was a kid, saying "ain't" was considered very bad. Not so much now. It's a right handy contraction.

6. April 2006, 12:30:47
Emne: Re:
Walter Montego: I don't really get it. The link Marfitalu gave says that when there's external force, you have to use have to but when it's an option and it is you who decides whether or not to do the job, you may use must. Yet you say that if your wife gets upset, which I believe is an external force making you do the job, you use must.

I went back to those books I were studying, and surprisingly at the end of one of them found some grammar notes I had missed till now. There are a few points about Have to and Must, and Should and Ought to. See if you agree with them:


1) Advice: You should go and see Casablanca. It's a brilliant old fim.

2) Obligations: I should get my father a card. It's his birthday tomorrow.

3) Probability: If the train's on time, we should arrive at 3:30.

Ought to

1) Advice: You ought to stop smoking. It's really bad for you. (Ought to expresses less personal advice than should.)

2) Obligations: I really ought to pay the telephone bill tomorrow. (Ought to here indicates that the speaker probably won't pay the bill tomorrow)

3) Theory: John ought to be here by now. (Ought to here means was due to, or it is expected)


Must + infinitive is used for strong obligations which express the authority of the speaker or writer. So it is used:

1) For formal rules or laws: Passengers must fasten their seat belts for take-off.

2) For suggestions, advice or recommendations that the speaker feels strongly about: You must come to my party. Everyone's gonna be there.

have to

Have to + infinitive is used for strong obligations which express the authority of a third person, rather than the speaker or writer. So it is used:

1) When the speaker wants to show they ar enot responsible for imposing the obligation, or do not agree with it: I'll be late home tonight. I hav eto work late. My boss says so.

2) When the speaker or writer is reminding someone about a rule or law: I'm sorry, but you hav eto wear a seat belt in the back of cars now.


So according to what I typed above, if your wife is not going to be mad at you, you can say:

I should buy a loaf of bread on my way back.

If she gets mad at you, you can say:

I have to buy a loaf of bread on my way home.

And if you yourself will get upset if you cannot satisfy what your wife has asked you to do, you can say:

I must buy a loaf of bread on my way home.

How mush do you think what I said is right according to what you think you really would say in these situations?


Yes, I know that people don't care for their choice of vocabulary so much, but we have a spoken English and a proper English, which you may call book English. I think I, or any non-native speaker is supposed to first learn to speak the language quite properly, then try to speak it as the speakers do.

When I speak farsi, I sometimes do notice that the sentence I'm saying is wrong regarding Farsi structure of sentences, but I just know that the one I'm talking to understands me without laughing at me or even asking why I've made the mistake.

The word 'whom' has cost me many marks in my exams, so now I'm glad I know its difference with who. :-)

6. April 2006, 14:47:19
We really need to move on to another topic. Or should I say we must move on... or do we have to... oh good grief.

6. April 2006, 18:24:33
Correct would be "could we please..."

6. April 2006, 18:29:50
Walter Montego 
Emne: Re:
رضا: That site of Marfitalu's is in Canadian English. Perhaps they use it differently there? I know when I've travelled there some words are pronounced differently.

I'd say your book has it right, and it agrees with Marfitalu's and my use of the words when it comes to buying bread and bringing it home for the missus.

What's an infinitive? n. A verb form expressing action or condition without reference to person, tense, or number, as "to run". In English, its sign "to" is omitted after most auxiliaries, as in, "He should 'go' now," but is retained when the infinitive functions as a noun, as in "'To ride' horses was his favorite sport."

I'd be hard pressed to give you an example of an infinitve and feel positive that I was right from this definition! :)
English must be one hard language to learn. Somehow I missed all this and learned without it. I have the feeling some of you 'English as a Second Language' people probably have better English skills than some native speakers, though in reza's case it might be because he's an English teacher.

6. April 2006, 18:52:38
Walter Montego 
Emne: Re:
رضا: It used to be called "Proper English," but it's been awhile since I heard anyone say that. We just say, "English." The United States has no legal official language for most things, even though everyone says English is the official language. Someone wanting to become an American has to prove they know English, but if you're already an American you can speak any language you want to. And advertise in any language and exclude English from said advertising. Recently a city enacted an ordinance requiring English to be printed on a business's sign. It is being fought in court. I know Canada has such a requirement in Quebec, but that's a different country. I believe a business should be able to advertise in any language. If I can't understand their sign, then they're not wanting me for a customer. Seems simple enough to me. The only entity that I'd require to just use one language for official business is the government. Having a common language makes it easier for everyone here to know what to expect when dealing with the government and encourages people to know that language.

6. April 2006, 18:54:20
Walter Montego 
Emne: Re:
رضا: The English speak a different language than us Americans. I've heard this little joke about it.

Two countries seperated by a common language.

6. April 2006, 20:15:14
Emne: Re:
رضا: we have more words for the same thing and meaning then we need..

"Have to" and "Must" are the same meaning.. they just show the emotion of the user a bit more..

For instance the young child might say to his friend.. "I have to take out the trash before I can go to the movie"..

and The secretary with a dozen letters to type up and send out, while also staring at a report may say something like "I MUST get this report done before noon so that I can finish the letters" in this case.. the "must" is used to emphasize the importance of what is to be done..

I hope this makes sense!

Kewl board by the way.. Good luck with it!

6. April 2006, 21:58:59
Walter: True. Infinitive is just what you said. Here in my books, go is named an infinitive without to as you mentioned.

English is indeed a hard language to learn. I've learnt it because I really like it. There are many people here that can speak it fluently and far better than I do, though almost all of them have been abroad to an English-speaking country for a few years.

You've learnt your language just the way I've learnt mine. It wasn't until when I was 10 that they started telling me what a subject is, what an object is, etc. But even before that I used them in their appropriate positions.

I very often hear grammatically wrong sentences in your movies and that does show that you don't care about these things so much. But I guess there should be a proper English according to your grammar books at least. I guess it's just like what they call Proper Pronunciation. What you see written in dictionaries but hardly hear in the movies or when people are talking. I take it if you ever see me talking, you may start to laugh since almost all words I use are said according to what Oxford Advanced Dictionary or Webster's Dictionary say.


ScarletRose : "Have to" and "Must" are the same meaning.. they just show the emotion of the user a bit more..

That's exactly what I am most interested in. I don't want people to get different emotions from what I have.

According to the rules I gave you in my previous post, if I say to my wife :

I really must stay in the office and finish some papers, so we can't go out for dinner tonight.

She may say:

Oh, come on! can't you just put it off for tomorrow>

Because her languag eintuition tells her that I'm using Must and that shows that I myself am forcing myself to do that, so there must be a way out of it.

But if I say to her:

I really have to stay in the office and finish some papers, so we can't go out for dinner tonight.

She'll not complain since she understands, without I having to explain to her, that becaus eI've used have to it's probably my boss who's forcing me to do that. So there's no way to avoid it.

These things are very interesting for non-native speakers. You just feel them, without really knowing them. But I have to first Know them, then start feeling them.

Thanks. I hope it'll be a benefitial board, even for the native guys and gals.


grenv: Another topic? I'm so full of them. But do I have to start another topic?

Feel free to suggest one when you feel like it.

Just to have something to discuss, I'd like to know the difference between these words too:

Trip, Travell, Voyage, Excursion, Journy

7. April 2006, 02:37:55
Walter Montego 
Emne: Re:
رضا: Learning American English from movies? I'd take what you learn that way with a grain of salt. They can purposely use non-standrad English just for dramatic affect.

7. April 2006, 02:57:37
Emne: Re:
Walter Montego: Honestly speaking some of the sentences I hear in the movies do have dramatic effects! I memorize many of them just because they are appealing to my mind and ears, and some are good to be in my mind for when I need to use them.

From a movie named SAW:

Now I see you as a strange mix of someone angry an dyet apathetic, but mostly just pathetic.

Most peopel are so ungrateful to be alive.

I'm sick of the desease eating away at me inside, sick of those who don't appreciate their blessings, sick of those who scoff at the suffering of others ...

7. April 2006, 03:39:33
Walter Montego 
Emne: Re:
رضا: What, no "Hasta la vista, baby!" ? :)

7. April 2006, 03:40:39
Emne: Re:
Walter Montego: I don't know what it means, but I've heard it in Terminator II.

7. April 2006, 03:42:45
Walter Montego 
Emne: Re:
رضا: The first three words are Spanish. And yes, you've correctly identified the movie.

7. April 2006, 03:43:32
Emne: Re:
Walter Montego: What does it mean? Do you know?

7. April 2006, 03:48:23
Walter Montego 
Emne: Re:
رضا: In a lot of movie the lines spoken don't mean much because it is in the context of what is happening that makes them have meaning. Then we remember them.

Awhile back I asked you if you had heard the song "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin. You said you hadn't. In that song there's a line about making sure of the meaning of what someone says. You should check out the song sometime. It is one of the best songs ever made and for sure the greatest rock song.

"And you know, sometimes words have two meanings."

This is close to the actual words sang as I'm not exactly sure. It certainly seems to apply to some of this discussion so far.

7. April 2006, 03:51:51
True. I sometimes just like the structure. Like if you've seen The Lord of The Rings I, I have memorized the part at the beginning of the movie, when the woman is telling the story of the ring! That's I think around ten minutes, of speach!

I'll check on that song later. I'll see if I can find it for download.

7. April 2006, 03:53:41
Walter Montego 
Emne: Re:
رضا: I believe "hasta la vista" means "see you later." Baby is just him saying something to rub it in.

7. April 2006, 03:55:38
Emne: Re:
Walter Montego: If it means that, then maybe VISTA comes from visit ?

Any Spanish speaker to help us?

7. April 2006, 10:49:41
Pedro Martínez 
Asking a native speaker is the worst thing you can do if you want to get precise information on the grammar of any language (unless such a person is a linguist, of course). Native speakers take their language as something "natural", they don't really think about the construction and linguistic meaning of their sentences. This MUST and HAVE TO thing is a good example of that. The difference between these has absolutely nothing to do with importance of what is to be done, as SR suggested, although it might actually seem so in lots of cases. The "truth" is as follows:

There are two fundamental meanings of MUST and HAVE TO - the first is used in cases when the speaker wants to express a necessity or obligation to do something. Now if it's an obligation or necessity caused by external circumstances (e.g. provision of law, prior promise, a need to get some information, the situation itself, etc), we have to use HAVE TO. It's also useful to remember that questions with MUST aim for wishes or intentions of the person asked.
Compare these sentences and think about if the MUST could be replaced with HAVE TO or vice versa:
Some day I must ask him why he did it.
I'm sorry, but I must insist on an answer.
You can go there, but you must be home by six.
Walter's the expert. We'll have to ask him how it works.
I have to laugh when I think about it now.
Must you leave so early? --- I'm afraid I have to.

The second meaning is used when we are sure of something, since it can be logically derived from a particular situation. Here, we have to use MUST.
What a marvellous offer, he must be very generous.
You must be crazy to want to marry her!
I always know what I want. --- That must be nice.
Romantic music must have shocked its first listeners.

7. April 2006, 11:05:47
Emne: Re:
Pedro Martínez: very true about native speakers ... if i am not sure about something in dutch i pronounce both possibilities and chose the one which 'feels right' :)

the same when i ponder over the spelling of a word .. i write down both spellings and chose the one which 'looks or feels right' :)

7. April 2006, 11:13:30
Pedro Martínez 
Emne: Re:
Hrqls: I bet the Dutch 'g' and 'ch' can be quite tricky, huh? Same thing with the Czech 'i' vs. 'y' and 's' vs. 'z'. It seems to be almost impossible to find a Czech who would speak and especially write proper Czech. :)

7. April 2006, 11:14:36
Emne: Re:
Pedro Martínez: yes, as well as the 'f' and 'v' and the 's' and 'z' in the middle of some words .. write them down and one version will look 'ugly' .. so you use the other one :)

7. April 2006, 11:15:07
Emne: Re:
Pedro Martínez: I do. See the BrainKing translation to Czech.

7. April 2006, 11:21:23
Pedro Martínez 
Emne: Re:
Hrqls: Right. That's how it works in all languages with multiple letters for the same sounds. Reza would probably be able to tell whole stories about all those 'Z's and 'S's in Farsi. :)
Fencer: The Czech "translation" is perfect, of course. As far as I can tell, however...:) Plus note that I said "almost".

7. April 2006, 11:22:19
Emne: Re:
Pedro Martínez: in dutch we have only 2 words which can be used in front of words .. i cant find the proper english name ('lidwoord' in dutch) .. like 'the' in english and 'le,la,les' in french and 'die,der,das' in german .. we have 'de, het' in dutch

'de' is for female and male word and plural
'het' is for neutral words

lately i notice a lot of people using 'de' when they should use 'het'

also 'this' has 2 forms ('deze' and 'dit')
'that' as well ('die' and 'dat')

lately i hear a lot of people use the male/female/plural form for neutral words

i guess we are going to 1 form in the future

7. April 2006, 11:24:22
Emne: Re:
Pedro Martínez: *nod* my gf had to write 'pawns' in dutch ...

1 pawn = 1 pion
2 pawns = 2 pionnen

'pionnen' looks ugly though so she thought .. and i wasnt sure either ... but 'pionen' looks even more ugly ;)
it turned out to be 'pionnen' .. which is logically as well when you think of the rules again :)

7. April 2006, 11:32:33
Pedro Martínez 
Emne: Re:
Hrqls: That's an interesting point about the articles. In Czech, there are no special words for them, but they are formed as suffixes and their usage is more complex. I often have the same feeling that in the future, we'll have only one gender, just like the English, as people keep mixing and mixing them. :)

How 'bout 'pions'? :) Is that "ugly too? LOL

7. April 2006, 11:38:55
Emne: Re:
Pedro Martínez: yes very ugly :)
we have 2 plural forms in dutch indeed -en and -s .. most words use -en though i think ... i dont know of any rule to know if i should use -s or -en .. thats pure 'feeling' :)
(i guess foreign words use -s ?)

'articles' ? hmm never knew about that .. no wonder i couldnt find it :)

i also see a lot of people (in every job, level of education, etc.) use 'een hele mooie auto' while it should be 'een heel mooie auto'
(a very beautiful car)

this is because 'heel' in that sentence points to 'mooie' and not to 'auto' ... its a personal pet peeve of me ... every time i hear it on the news, see it in the news paper (its even written down! not just speech), etc. i yell out! :)
(my gf recently joins me in the yelling ;))

7. April 2006, 11:48:39
Pedro Martínez 
Emne: Re:
Hrqls: Heh, if I were like you, I would be constantly yelling when watching TV or reading newspapers.
I remember a situation when there was this sentence written on TV: "Mají doma krokodýli" (There should be 'y' at the end). After a minute or two, I guess after a phone call from some viewer, they changed it to "Mají doma krokodíli". LOL Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

7. April 2006, 11:50:06
Emne: Re:
Pedro Martínez: lol! well at least they had the courage to change something ... to bad they were as blonde as me though ;)

7. April 2006, 12:02:41
Emne: Re:
Marfitalu: So do you have any idea if that VISTA is any related to VISIT in English?

I bet it must be. Both the spelling and meaning are quite similar.

7. April 2006, 12:04:09
Emne: Re:
Tilpasset af toedder (7. April 2006, 12:04:34)
رضا: yes, both are derived from latin visitare.
edit: not sure about the exact word ;)

7. April 2006, 12:06:22
Pedro Martínez 
Emne: Re:
رضا: The English verb 'visit' is derived from the Middle English visiten, ev. from Old French visiter, from Latin visitare, frequentative of visere, which means to want to see, go to see, from videre, to see.

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